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Build My Own Computer?


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#1 erikhorton

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 10:12 PM

I'm in dire need of an upgrade and I'm considering building my own computer. I've tinkered with components and memory, but nothing hard core, so speak in simple terms.

I need a system to run AutoCAD with large GIS applications and Photoshop files that can get quite large (I scan and refinish old maps as a hobby.)

Should I even be considering this or would I be better off buying from Dell, Alienware, or Ibuypower or the likes? If I'd be smart to build my own, give me some sort of shopping list. I'm thinking of an AMD64 system, is that smart?

Should I be buying from CompUSA, or a similar retailer, or buy online?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

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#2 dc3

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 11:40 PM

If you have the ability to read and understand instructions, have a basic knowledge of computer components, I would build my own, there are a number of possitive asspects to building your own, designing a machine for you specific application is one of them.

The first thing to do is to decide what your budget is going to be and go from there, if money isn't an issue...

The first step is choosing a motherboard, everyone here has their preference, mine is Asus. Tiger Direct has some of the best prices for motherboard cpu combos, their pairing up the two provides you with a combination that you won't have to worry about compatability. I would look at a socket 939 cpu, a 500 Watt psu, 200GB hdd, and 1GB of ram (2x512MB).

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/ca...asp?CatId=1619&

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#3 stevealmighty

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 09:38 AM

I agree with dc3. Building a computer is rather simple, and once you build your own, you'll wonder why you didnt' do it sooner!

I've built 2 machines on a budget, and have been impressed with how they run and handle programs such as photoshop and premiere pro, both for well under $1,000. The only thing I'd do differently it get a P4 instead of a celeron.

For running photoshop and a cad program, either AMD or Pentium will do fine. I'd recommend 2 gb ram (2 X 1gb sticks), as photoshop (probably the cad programs too) are ram hogs. I'd go with a 80 gb hdd for the OS and antivirus, but add a second drive of 200gb for Photoshop and the cad programs (photoshop likes to have it's temporary scratch disk on a drive seperate from Windows, hence the second drive). Multiple cooling fans for case (of course), and a decent (not a cheap one) 500 or 550 watt power supply. Since the programs you're using will be cpu intensive, and not rely to heavily on a graphics card, I'd get at least a 64mb (maybe a 128) graphics card to run your video. Onboard sound should be fine, but a sound card is a cheap upgrade (only $28 at walmart for a SB live 24bit soundcard). For a cpu, I'd get at least a P4 3.06 800mhz fsb, or the AMD equivalent. Photoshop is supposed to support hyperthreading/dual core, but have noticed that hyper threading usually causes more heart ache than it's worth. As for a case, don't get a cheap one...I bought a case for $17.99 (on sale) and got exactly what I paid for....junk.

You should be able to do a decent computer for under $1,000 easily.
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#4 HitSquad

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 09:45 AM

Boy are you going to get a ton of different opinions on this thread. :thumbsup:
There was a time when Asus was all i'd use but they have had thier fair share of problems lately.
Lots of current boards being RMA'd with smoked chipsets. They are aware of the problem too.
My backup choice would be Gigabyte right at the moment.
For high end gaming, I build AMD based.
For application software such as you're using, I'd go Pentium 4.
With Autocad, 1gb is bare minimum, double it up for sure.
In any case, building your own system is the only way to go. You're not going to save any money but you'll get what you want and have a greater understanding of how to diagnose and fix it when things go south over time.
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#5 erikhorton

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 08:46 PM

Thanks for all the advice. It helps more than you can imagine.

Couple of questions..HitSquad, why the different processor recommendations for the different apps?

Anyone, is it worth the money to build a 64 bit?

#6 stevealmighty

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 09:17 PM

Thanks for all the advice. It helps more than you can imagine.

Couple of questions..HitSquad, why the different processor recommendations for the different apps?

Anyone, is it worth the money to build a 64 bit?


The 64 bit....well, IMHO, it's not worth it. I don't believe that there are any 64 bit programs out for the "average consumer" that every joe schmoe could walk to their local walmart and buy.

I agree with HitSquad about his saying different cpu's for different apps. Think of it this way.....a P4 is like a muscle car loaded with horse power. It's great for the straight and narrow, like heavy processing for photoshop (croping, filtering etc.). The AMD is like a finely tuned sports machine, has half the horse power of a P4, but handles sweetly in the curves (amd has 2 math processors helping it to rip through games physics). Basically, the P4 can do better with the applications that require intense cpu usage, and the amd can better handle games that require physics (grenades exploding, cars crashing etc.).

I'm sure that HitSquad will have a much better answer, but this is how it was explained to me, and it made sense (to me at least :thumbsup: )
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#7 Snapper

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 09:25 PM

i work at a computer repair shop, 8 techs. we ALL have amd and asus.
nuff said?
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